Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis.) A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)
Sirius/XM radio host Mike Church has an article at The Imaginative Conservative on secession and the (obviously correct) compact theory of the Union. But check out the comments. How many of them are — dare I say it — imaginative? For some of these people it’s the same old conventional nonsense, as they pat themselves on the back for not believing something that both Hillary Clinton and Mitch McConnell would warn them against. Why, they are respectable Americans, not extremists!
One person suggests states’ rights really originated with Fitzhugh and extreme southerners in the 1850s. Laughably wrong. Another says the Constitution must be perpetual because the Articles of Confederation claimed to be perpetual, and the Constitution nowhere gave any impression to the contrary. He thinks “perpetual” means “lasting forever,” when in 18th-century diplomatic language it simply meant “lacking a built-in sunset provision.” There were plenty of long-forgotten “perpetual” treaties in the 18th century that this person must think are still in effect.
He then tells us that the Supreme Court’s ipse dixit in Texas v. White (1869) on the unconstitutionality of secession should give us our answer, which only goes to show he didn’t understand the question.
Then Andrew Seeley claims the Virginians were speaking in their ratification instrument of a general right of rebellion — an American principle everyone believes in — and not specifically of a right of secession. This is the Straussian line. It is false. Kevin Gutzman shows this in his book Virginia’s American Revolution. They were indeed speaking of a right of secession. There is no one in the world with a more thorough knowledge of that convention than Gutzman.
Plenty of contributors at The Imaginative Conservative are good guys, even friends of mine. But their educational project evidently has a ways to go.